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Meet the Board

The Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association (UMTIA) is run completely by volunteers who contribute many hours of time and effort while serving on the executive board. The Executive Board is in charge of the governance, finances and decision making regarding the direction of the organization.

The Executive Board consists of up to twelve members who serve two year terms. Each has a specific office to fulfill, such as secretary, or treasurer or membership director or member at large, while representing the best interests of UMTIA members and running the association.

On this page, you can find out more about the volunteers that make up the leadership team. Members are welcome to join the Executive Board for their monthly meeting. If you’d like to attend, please email [email protected].

 

Isabel Montañez, President, 2018-2019 Term

Isabel Montañez

Isabel Montañez

Isabel Montañez is from Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She graduated from the Interpreting/Translation Program University of Minnesota in 2009. She joined UMTIA right after graduation and became a member of the Executive Board. Isabel worked as a Medical Lab Technician for 20 years and was a freelancer with several interpreting agencies. In 2012, Isabel joined the Hennepin County Medical Center Interpreting Team full-time. Isabel continues serving the interpreting profession with UMTIA and hopes to make every interpreter part of UMTIA. Isabel is CCHI Spanish Certified, on the MN Legal Roster and an ATA Member.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

When I was taking my courses at the University of Minnesota for the interpreting certificate, I had an outstanding instructor, and she talked about being a member of UMTIA. She told me it was a great way to get to know other professionals, and it would give me an opportunity to expand my education. She was the reason I became a member. UMTIA is the only organization for interpreters in the Midwest. I’m very satisfied with UMTIA mainly because it’s all about continuing education.

Why I Joined the Board

In 2010 I was involved with UMTIA’s conference and I had firsthand knowledge of what it takes to put together a very important event for our profession. I learned that there is so much to give of myself to make my profession a full success. I accepted the opportunity to join the Board. It has been an outstanding experience, and most of all, I have met marvelous professionals.

 

Aida Azzazi, Vice President, 2019-2020 Term

Aida Azzazi

Aida Azzazi

Aida Azzazi has been working as an interpreter in education since 2003. She is an interpreter and translator for the Minneapolis Public Schools District in the Special Education Department. She is assigned to 20 schools that range from grades K-12. She completed the University of Minnesota Program in Translation and Interpreting in 2017 and is also an ATA member. In addition, she holds a BFA in Design from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I joined the UMTIA board to continue to learn and grow as an interpreter and translator. I admire the work UMTIA does and I enjoy meeting and connecting with other interpreters and translators in the field to help build a sense of community.

 

David Coats, Treasurer, 2019-2020 Term

David Coats

David Coats

David Coats has been a freelance translator since 1986, and is ATA-certified for German into English. Now retired from the field of psychotherapy, he worked for 37 years as a psychotherapist in public and private practice; including 18 years as a Social Worker in the field of civil commitments, working closely with the Probate Court and the medical system. Prior to obtaining his Master’s in Social Work, he studied engineering and sociology. He specializes in translation of highly technical material and patents, as well as medical and legal material.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I had been a member of UMTIA since its creation. At the 2008 annual meeting, nobody was a candidate for the position of Treasurer. I am quite detail-oriented, and felt that I could do the job, as I had used QuickBooks for our own translation business, and believed it would be applicable to UMTIA’s bookkeeping needs. I thus volunteered for the position, and have been doing it ever since.

 

Patricia Contag, Secretary, 2018-2019 Term

Patricia Contag

I was born in Quito, Ecuador, where I obtained a degree in English, and worked as a school teacher and private tutor. Currently, I am certified by the American Translators Association as an English-Spanish translator and by the Commission for Healthcare Interpreters as medical interpreter. For the last 15 years, I’ve worked for Mayo Clinic both on-site and off-campus.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I returned to Minnesota last winter, after living in Maryland for several years. Upon settling in Minneapolis, one of the first things I did was join UMTIA. I think UMTIA does an excellent work at offering continued education to interpreters and translators. It is an honor for me to be a Member at Large and assist the board.

 

Eve MacLeish, Membership Director, 2018-2019 Term

Eve MacLeish

Eve MacLeish has worked as a medical interpreter since 2004, and at Childrens Hospitals & Clinics of MN since 2006. She completed the University of Minnesota’s TrIn certificate program in 2006. Eve produces a radio program of Latin music and culture, Corazon Latino, every Friday from 2-4 pm on KFAI Community Radio. She formerly resided in Merida, Venezuela, with her bicultural family for nearly 14 years.

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Why I Joined the Board

I decided to join the UMTIA board to expand my horizons and be continually reminded of how important this organization is for our community of interpreters and translators. Yes, my arm was twisted, and I am happy to be here developing my role as membership director. I look forward to being in communication with our membership at UMTIA and advancing the profession with our activities together with our amazing board of directors!

 

Lucía Abolafia Cobo, Committee Liaison , 2019-2020 Term

LUCÍA ABOLAFIA COBO

Lucía was born and raised in Jaén, Spain. She has a degree in Translation and Interpreting (French-English-Spanish) and a Masters in Immigration Law from the University of Granada. She is recognized by the European Union as a certified legal translator (French-Spanish).

Lucía has more than 10 years of experience as a medical and legal translator and interpreter and has worked internationally in both Europe and South America. In her free time, she teaches Spanish literature to adults.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I joined UMTIA as soon as I heard of its existence. Organizations like UMTIA are very necessary for us, translators and interpreters, not only to continue developing our skills, but also to be aware of our rights and responsibilities as professionals.

I appreciate UMTIA’s efforts to bolster a sense of pride amongst interpreters and translators and a greater esteem for their work outside of the profession.

 

Claudia Giannini, Member-at-Large, 2019-2020 Term

Claudia Giannini

Claudia has an undergraduate degree in Translation and Interpreting and a graduate degree in Hispanic Linguistics. She has more than two decades of experience working as a translator. She currently teaches translation courses at the University of Minnesota, as well as Spanish, Linguistics, and Hispanic culture at Macalester College. Claudia has held several positions in UMTIA’s Board since 2007.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I joined UMTIA as soon as I found out it existed — I know that an association like this one can contribute to the professional life of each and every translator and interpreter. The more members we have, the stronger we’ll be and the easier it will be to implement positive changes for all.  After a few years of being a member, I decided to join the Board, not only because I am interested in the work UMTIA does, but also because I am keenly aware that previous Board members have worked very hard for UMTIA to become a reality and I felt a responsibility for the association. I encourage all professional interpreters and translators in our area to consider becoming part of our Board or one of our committees at some point in their careers, as this is one of the most effective ways of improving our professions.

 

 


For a list of previous board members, see our Board Member History.

 

Ideas about membership?

Do you have thoughts about how membership could be improved? We want to know.

Please email us at [email protected].

Bylaws, Policies and Financial Reports

Keep track of the work the executive committee is doing on your behalf. Read UMTIA's current bylaws, policies and financial reports.

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